Raised by his Aunt and Uncle, Peter Parker has grown up to be a brilliant but awkward teenager. When looking into his parents’ past, he discovers that his father’s former co-worker, Dr. Curt Connors, is developing medicines using animal DNA to aid the regeneration of human cells. When visiting Connors’ lab, Peter sneaks away from his group and gets bitten by a genetically modified spider causing him to develop superhuman abilities. Under pressure from his superiors for results, Connors injects himself with serum containing lizard DNA but things go horribly wrong. Peter now finds himself having to use his new powers to prevent Connors from unleashing the serum among the population as well as dealing with his first romance with the beautiful Gwen Stacy.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) – Director: Marc Webb

Is The Amazing Spider-Man appropriate for kids

Rating: 12

Running Length: 136 mins

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans

Genre: Comic Book, Action

 

REVIEW

‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ is a reboot of the classic Marvel comic series of the same name. Gone is the colourful, comic book feel of the Tobey Maguire/Kirsten Dunst ‘Spider-Man’ movies, making way for a grittier, mature story that equally manages to keep the fun that appeals to kids. Taking its time to set up the main characters and their motivations, it does take a little while to get going, but this doesn’t make the film drag. Andrew Garfield is great as the awkward and geeky but very likeable Peter and the chemistry between him and Emma Stone (who plays Gwen) is very natural and believable. The character of Curt Connors is very sympathetic as a good man who has strong motivations to make the world a better place but the pressures of big business work against him, turning him into a monster.

This is an origins story and, while many people may know the background of Peter Parker and Spider-Man, this movie does enough to ensure that both newcomers and seasoned fans can enjoy it. Those who only know Spider-Man through the previous movies may be surprised with a few changes to the previous movie’s cannon, particularly the introduction of Gwen Stacy with no Mary-Jane in sight; this is due to the story being more closely related to that of the comic books.

‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ is a wonderfully realised start to a new franchise of movies involving Spidey (‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is due for release in 2014) which is bound to appeal to a wide audience of adults and kids as well as newcomers to the story and long-term fans.

IS ‘THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

The opening scene shows how Peter came to be raised by his Aunt and Uncle. His father was a scientist who had a secret that threatened to harm his family. Peter’s parents take him to his Aunt and Uncle and bid an emotional farewell to their son; his mother in particular is incredibly upset and has to be dragged away by his father. Later in the movie, when Peter is older, he looks at newspaper articles on the internet and comes across one that describes how his parents were killed in a car accident. This does not appear to distress him however so it is implied that he already knew that his parents were dead.

Also, during an argument with his Uncle about responsibility, Peter becomes emotional and angry that his father did not take on the responsibility of raising him. This could strike a chord for any child whose father may have been absent from their life.

When at school, Peter comes across the school bully, Flash, who is holding a smaller boy upside down and forcing his face onto a plate of food. When Peter tells him to stop; Flash throws the boy onto the floor and beats Peter to the ground, however Peter remains defiant and doesn’t allow Flash to bully him.

In a very iconic scene, Peter comes across a thief who steals from a cash register. Peter, having previously been annoyed by the cashier, does nothing to prevent the crime but in doing so, allows the criminal to escape who then shoots and kills someone who is close to Peter. When he realises what has happened, Peter cradles their body in his arms and is devastated. After the police have investigated the crime, Peter listens to a voicemail that the character left for him before they died.

When Dr. Connors is pushed to begin human trials of his serum, he expresses concern that not enough tests have been completed. His superior threatens to take the serum to a veteran’s hospital where he will use it to experiment on the patients. As Connors does not want this to happen, he injects himself with the serum which is clearly very painful for him. While the serum works initially, the unforeseen side effects cause Connors to turn into a huge, aggressive lizard with large, sharp claws.

When in lizard form, Connors attacks a bridge full of cars. The people panic and try to escape but Connors throws several cars over the bridge. Each one of these is caught in mid-air by Spider-Man’s web but dangle precariously. One of the cars has a young boy inside and Spider-Man attempts to rescue him. Fuel drips down the side of the car which sets it on fire. The boy is very afraid and unable to move, however Spider-Man manages to give the boy courage, persuading him to climb out. This part of the scene lasts around five minutes and is very tense.

There are several action sequences throughout the movie which contain mostly comic book style violence; however, one stronger moment involves an established character being stabbed in the back by The Lizard’s claws which are then seen to come through their chest. There is no blood or gore but this character is seen to suffer some pain and dies shortly afterwards.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ is a brilliant movie which will be enjoyable to anyone who is looking for a good balance of action and drama. The fact that Peter Parker is a very ordinary young man rather than the usual millionaire playboy alter ego will make him very relatable to a lot of people. Due to this movie mostly having comic book action, we feel that it should be appropriate for most kids aged 7 and over.

  • Violence:  2/5
  • Emotional Distress: 3/5 (two established characters are killed and their loved ones mourn for them)
  • Fear Factor: 2/5 (there are a few tense moments, however they do not become too frightening)
  • Sexual Content: 1/5 (the attraction and relationship between Peter and Gwen is quite innocent and doesn’t become sexual. When Peter is first finding out about his powers, he is on a subway train and accidentally rips a woman’s top off, revealing her bra. Peter apologises profusely and this is clearly done for comedic effect rather than being sexual in nature)
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (some minor cursing and blasphemy)
  • Dialogue: 0/5  
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of taking responsibility for your actions, vigilantism, intelligence being just as important as strength, family, guilt, grief and standing up for what you believe in.
  • As Dr. Connors is a scientist trying to develop new medicines, he uses animals in his experiments. While the film doesn’t show any actual animal suffering, there is a brief shot of a needle about to be injected into a mouse but the camera cuts away at the appropriate moment and the mouse does not make any noises of distress. Also, a mouse that has been experimented on is seen to be affected in a similar way to Dr Connors in that it is much larger and aggressive than before, it has escaped from its cage and it is eating another mouse.

Words by Laura Record

 

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